The provocative actions of Greece, including violation of Turkey’s airspace and territorial waters, are unacceptable, according to a statement released after the National Security Council (MGK) meeting said
Noting that Greece has been ignoring international law and has taken a stance against neighborly relations and as NATO partners, the MGK statement also said Turkey has urged Greek authorities to immediately end its violent and inhumane practices against irregular migrants.
Turkey and Greece have long-standing sea and air boundary disputes that intensified with moves to explore potential undersea natural gas reserves.
The disagreement has resulted in near-daily air force patrols and interception missions, mostly in disputed airspace around Greek islands that are near Turkey’s coastline.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiation. Turkey has also criticized the European Union’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean conflict, calling on the bloc to adopt a fair attitude regarding the dispute and abandon its preferential treatment of Greece under the pretext of EU solidarity.
Meanwhile, Ankara urged NATO allies’ support in the fight against terrorist groups, including the PKK, its offshoots and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Turkish leaders criticize NATO members as they say they have fought relentlessly against terrorist organizations in many parts of the world, but unfortunately, they have not shown the same resolve in taking on the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian wing, the YPG.
The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., Turkey and the European Union, and Washington’s support for its Syrian affiliate has been a major strain on bilateral relations with Ankara.
The U.S. primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria to fight against the Daesh terrorist group. On the other hand, Turkey strongly opposed the YPG’s presence in northern Syria. Ankara has long objected to the U.S.’ support for the YPG, a group that poses a threat to Turkey and that terrorizes local people, destroying their homes and forcing them to flee.
Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the YPG, despite its NATO ally’s security concerns. Underlining that one cannot support a terrorist group to defeat another, Turkey conducted its own counterterrorism operations, over the course of which it has managed to remove a significant number of terrorists from the region.
Regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the MGK said Turkey repeats its call for an extensive cease-fire before the war results in more casualties and destruction.
Ankara also pledged to strive to solve the grain corridor issue, which may result in a global food crisis, through the establishment of permanent peace.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – two major global wheat suppliers – has sent prices for grains and other food products soaring. It has stalled Kyiv’s exports, leaving dozens of ships stranded and some 22 million tons of grain stuck in silos at Ukrainian ports.
Moscow has denied responsibility for worsening the food crisis, and instead blamed Western sanctions’ chilling effect for slowing its food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining its Black Sea ports.
Ukraine and Russia are major global wheat suppliers, and the latter is also a large fertilizer exporter, while the former is a significant producer of corn and sunflower oil.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to visit Istanbul late Thursday as part of the efforts to finalize a deal to secure the Ukraine grain deal.